What Not to Do "Just for College"

A student with ten AP classes, a 4.6 GPA, six clubs, two internships, and a skill in another hobby probably thinks they can get into any school they want. However, what if there were unseen flaws in this resume admission teams could spot.


Often, people believe numbers on paper are what can get them into college. Imagine that student got mainly threes on their APs, were in the clubs for one-two years, and did not enjoy their hobby.

Colleges can look at those numbers and instead of seeing an amazing student, they can see a burnt out, overachiever, who most likely took on everything on their plate purely for college admissions.



For many colleges, the top three categories they weigh when looking at prospective students are GPA, AP or IB scores, and extracurriculars. These categories can show how well a student will succeed with college course rigor and how involved they can be on campus.


If a student took too many APs and mainly got threes, this can show the college they are most likely close to being burnt out. A student who did not show commitment to the clubs they joined (as in three or more years or a high amount of hours) can reveal the student may have only joined the club to add to their resume.

Take note, in the Common Application activities section there is a box to check if a student intends to pursue a similar activity in college after each activity. This can show if a student really enjoys their extracurricular.

Additionally, many liberal arts and private colleges are taking a more holistic approach to admissions, where they track a student's demonstrated interest and take into account more than just GPA and AP scores. Schools with this admission approach will want to accept students who show they have interest in the things they did in high school.


Doing things purely ‘for college to see’ can often cause a student to lose passion and make extracurriculars seem like a chore, rather than something to enjoy. Students should highly consider taking less AP classes to reduce burnout, and consider taking on less extracurriculars to spend more time and energy on ones they enjoy.


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